When Venezuelan American filmmaker Fanny Veliz Grande was nearing her 15th birthday, her parents gave her an option: she could celebrate it with a quinceañera or they could spend that money for a trip to Europe.
Grande chose the European vacation. Then, she immediately changed her mind when she started attending some of her friends’ quinceañeras and realized what she would be missing out on.
“Two weeks before my birthday, I told my parents I really wanted one,” Grande, who grew up in a suburb of Caracas, told Remezcla during a recent interview. “They were able to pull it off. It turned out to be a great party. The whole town showed up.”
Grande said her quinceañera is something she will never forget. She captures those same kinds of memories in her documentary Our Quinceañera. After a year of screening at virtual film festivals, the doc is now available for rent and purchase at Amazon Prime.
Our Quinceañera tells the story of the teenage students in the border town of San Benito, Texas, many of whom cannot afford a traditional 15th birthday party. With the help of the entire community and the local high school principal, Gilbert Galvan, the students are offered a combined quinceañera for everyone who wants to participate.
Now that Our Quinceañera is more accessible to audiences, Grande hopes people will want to see a film that celebrates a community that is not often seen on screen. “With every movie I make, I want to transform the way our communities are portrayed,” Grande said. “This film is something that is positive and shows that these communities have dreams like everybody else.”